Social Media Marketing

Sarah Haston: Common mistakes made in social media marketing

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If you’re struggling with your engagement and find it low on social media, before you think it isn’t the right fit for you and decide to throw in the towel, let’s have a look at some of the most common mistakes brands make on social media to see if you can turn things around before you get too frustrated.

• Only selling: Have you ever been in a conversation where someone is talking at you and you can’t get a word in? Even at a retail establishment, we can all recall a time where someone just tried to sell us by talking at us nonstop. A one-sided conversation is pretty boring if you’re on the receiving end. 

The same can be said for social media. If you are constantly talking about yourself through a continuous hard sell of your products or services, your target audience will quickly lose interest. It’s not very engaging if all you do is talk about yourself. 

The solution is to develop your content strategy with engagement in mind. If you set out to engage people in a more meaningful way, you will find that your loyal brand community will grow as you make connections. 

• Ignoring comments: Do not ignore comments. I know it is hard when you are a small business owners or small marketing teams – one person who is running the show. It is easy to let things slip through the cracks. However, while you are distracted leading the other aspects of your company, your social community will quickly move on when they feel you don’t value them. Recent studies show 70 percent of people are more likely to stick with a brand when they respond on social media.

The solution is social media is all about a personal connection and dialogue, so try to connect and continue the dialogue. Whether on purpose or not, you should never leave a comment unanswered, even if it is just to react to it by liking it or responding with an emoji. If you’re having trouble keeping on top of it, schedule 15 minutes every day to sit down with your online community and answer any questions or comments that have come up. It will start to feel like a habit after a while.

• Not providing value: If you are just posting for the sake of posting because you need content up there with little regard for what that content is, then it’s likely not going to attract the audience you had intended. Try to schedule time where you are thinking about good content. It is important to actually put thought into your content. Think about your friendships and personal relationship… they can’t develop without effort and thought. 

The solution is to remember that you are on social media for the benefit of your customers, so you should be posting about things they want to hear about. Develop the relationship by constantly and consistently adding value to the relationship. Help it develop and grow by filling their need for information in a social way. Develop posts about the trends within your industry and listen for questions that come up frequently about your products or service. Try addressing those topics to provide value to your community. Also, don’t be afraid to ask them what topics they want to hear about.

• Going for quantity over quality: I know, you see other brands on social media that have thousands of followers, and you want that for yourself. Don’t let this be your main focus. It should not become the most important thing about your social media strategy. The amount of followers you have means absolutely nothing if they aren’t converting into customers and if your overall engagement is low. If your goal is merely to gain more followers on social media, you’re missing the entire point to social media marketing.

The solution is to focus on building a community, not an audience. You can also think about it as a conveyer belt – you have people constantly coming on and falling off. The number can go up and down, but if you have a highly engaged community on social media, it’s not going to matter as much. You will notice an upward steady growth trend in your following, your engagement, and your revenues. The more engaged your community is, the more likely they are to actually buy into what it is you’re selling. 

As you are developing or troubleshooting your social media strategy, keep these common mistakes in the back of your head. Remember that you should be having fun with your social media strategy, because it is all about building a community of engaged people. The biggest tip I can give you is to remember conversation… treat your social media like you would a conversation. 

Sarah Haston is economic development director in Lebanon.

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